Hosts Mumbai City FC would be aiming to continue their unbeaten streak, but are likely to face perhaps the toughest challenge when they play ATK FC in an Indian Super League game in Mumbai on Saturday.
Mumbai finally registered their first ‘home win’ against laggards Hyderabad FC (2-1), when the two sides met at the Mumbai Football Arena last Sunday, with Modou Sougou scoring a brace.
Jorge Costa-managed team is unbeaten in the last six games and would take confidence from their win against Hyderabad. Currently, the hosts are fourth on the points table, while their opponents ATK are comfortably placed at the third spot with 18 points. The winning side will get three points.
All eyes would be on Sougou, who finally delivered for his coach and broke his goal-less stint. If he fires on all cylinders, then it will be tough for ATK defence.
Apart from Sougou, it would be interesting to see whether their top-goal scorer Amine Chermiti (four goals), who was benched in the game against Hyderabad, as he was coming from an injury, makes a comeback or not.
Mumbai’s key mid-fielder Paulo Machado is out for the entire season due to an injury. In his absence, others like Diego Carlos, Gabonese Serge Angoue, Mohamed Larbi, Mohammed Rafique, Rowllin Borges, and Raynier Fernandes, will have to step up and deliver. Carlos had a good outing against Hyderabad and would want to continue it.
Mumbai, however, needs to improve their defence. Their goal-keeper Amridner Singh conceded a goal in their last game, but saved many and would be more than willing to keep a clean sheet. In the 10 games he has played, Singh has only two clean-sheets, a concern for the team management.
On the other hand, ATK are coming to the contest after going past defending champions Bengaluru FC 1-0 in Kolkata.
The visitors have strong strikers like Balwant Singh, Edu Garcia, David Williams, and Roy Krishna, who can challenge any defence and Mumbai would be no exception on their given day. In fact, Krishna has eight goals to his name this season itself, while Williams has five and Garcia has three goals. So combined, the three of them have 16 goals this season.
ATK defenders like Anas Edathodika, Pritam Kotal, Ankit Mukherjee among others will man the line and they would have to be on their toes to thwart the Mumbai attack. Their custodian Arindam Bhattacharya, who has five clean-sheets to his name, would be keen on adding one more to the list.
The two teams will go out all guns blazing in what is expected to be an intriguing clash.
Head to Head: Matches 13, Mumbai City FC 5, ATK FC 4, Draws 4
Date: January 4 (Saturday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Broadcast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Kannada, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Bangla. The match will also be broadcasted on Hotstar and Jio TV.